Lucky by Alice Sebold Analysis Essay

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Women's Issues - Sexuality
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #89361661
  • Related Topic: Trauma, Rape, Sexual Assault

Excerpt from Essay :

During her reorganization phase, her personality and the emotional support from other social units played a vital role. As a person, she was a survivor. She appeared to posses a character which made her endure the pain yet live through the moment. It was her resilience that made her go to public authorities even after she lost her case the first time. Alice always wanted to be somebody whose presence could be felt. This is the reason why she wanted to be Ethel Merman (2009, p.87). She was an actress and a singer whom according to her mother, had no talent but she managed draw the attention of audience solely on herself. Her personality made an exceptional role in letting her cope up with the trauma and also with getting her culprit punished in the later phase.

Another important factor which played a key role in her retaliation was her strong support system. Victims of rape trauma syndrome show a considerable degree of reliance on social support system and so did Alice. She had friends who had signed up for the whole ride, according to her; and also her family who was concerned but not very supportive of her. There were instances when she would not accept their sympathetic gestures and would consider it as their attempt of maintaining distance from her. Example of such action would be her resistance to her sister and mother being concerned about a program on television when something related to rape appeared (2009, p.117). It is important to note that her primary source of strength should have been her family but unfortunately this was not the case. Her family tip-toed around her and perceived her of somebody else.

Her father was exceptionally criticizing by saying that how could she got raped when he came to know that the rapist lost his weapon during the struggle of holding her (2009, p.113). It was mainly the strength that she had developed as a person during her childhood which made her stand up for herself. Although she made clear to her father later by discussing with him what exactly happened. Her father was an educated person who would prefer to stay engrossed in books and literature but yet he failed to understand how absence of a weapon would make the woman confirm to what the rapist is asking. She made her point by saying, "I couldn't want something like that. it's impossible (2009, p.116)." This skeptic attitude from her family sometimes provoked her to break ties with her family as she wrote, "Learn a language of another country and then you can go to that country: a place where the problems of your family will not follow. A language they do not speak (2009, p.325)."

A feeling of being an alien further made the situation worse for her as she realized that people perceive her to be somebody different and they tried to maintain distance with her. She was not treated like somebody with end-of -- life illness but somebody who was just not one of them. As Sebold wrote, "I was no longer like her but was other than (2009, p.40).' The experience of the rape also generated a feeling of self-loathing: Sebold believed she was ugly and untouchable and kept involuntarily recalling the rapist's words that she was "the worst bitch" he had ever had (2009, p.13).

Sebold also mentioned the stereotypes about women who have experienced rape. According to her she had to make the audience believe time and again that a woman can be raped without a weapon. Possibility of submission because of fear and physical violence was not considered as equivalent to having a weapon. She also had to suppress the notion that getting raped is equivalent to having a sexual pleasure (2009, p.131). Audience that she encountered after this event also made assumptions about her based on idea. Example of such behavior was an explicit statement by her therapist, "I guess this will make you less inhibited about sex now (2009, p.152)."

Another family friend who had faced physical violence also commented by saying that their experiences were different as no one was interested in her in 'that' way (2009, p.131). Another stereotypic view was that a woman is suppose to remain feeble and shattered after such events and she is expected to remain under the shadow of such events. Continuing with her life, Alice chose not to be a weakling. In the pursuit of changing this stereotype, she got her rapist arrested when she recognized him. One of the old ladies tried to comfort her by saying "it wasn't such a bad thing growing up to be an old maid" assuming that she would not be able to get decent studies and a normal family life (2009, p. 130). Even her boyfriend who was concerned about her believed unintentionally that she is some prostitute whom he is trying to save (2009, p.156). However, she wanted people to perceive rape as something more than sex without will. She expressed her feeling by saying, "Since then I've always thought that under rape in the dictionary it should tell the truth. It is not just forcible intercourse; rape means to inhabit and destroy everything (2009, p. 247)."

For rape victims, existing life problems also play a major role. Victims who are already experiencing traumatic events such as breakup, abortion, financial crisis or parental divorce, face difficulty in reorganizing themselves. Alice Sebold was not exactly from a very happy family. In fact, in her words, neighbors found them weird. Her family comprised of a mother who often had panic attacks but was an accomplished journalist, a father who has always maintained distance from his daughters and has remained engrossed in his books (2009, p.107). Alice did have a good elder sister but she was forced to live under the shadow of hers. The fact that Alice often felt unseen made her desire of being eminent rather strong. She already had borne a poor self-image which was enhanced by the comments of the rapist when he said that she is the worst that he has ever done. Dirty and ugly are the precise words representing what she felt in the initial phase of her recovery.

Flashbacks are an important part of rape trauma syndrome. These flashbacks can be triggered by any factor that could be related to the event itself. During the prosecution, she had to live through those moments time and again. She was made to remember the slightest of the details which made the event live and relive (Boeschen, Sales & Koss, 1998). Even when the policeman mentioned that a girl had already been raped and killed in the tunnel, she recalled a hair band that she saw during the event. She imagined the girl being forcefully held while she is resisting and imagined rapist grabbing her hair and pulling them in order to control her. The imagination made her view herself in that girl's place and the fear of death reignited in her (2009, p. 4).

During her reorganization phase, most of her strength was invested initially in forgetting the event and then getting her rapist arrested and punished. But by the time prosecution actually began, Alice had already collected herself. She expressed her reorganization by saying

"I was a virgin. He was a stranger. It happened outside. It was night. I wore loose clothes and could not be proven to have acted provocatively. There were no drugs or alcohol in my system. I had no former involvement with the police of any kind, not even a traffic ticket. He was black and I was white. There was an obvious physical struggle. I had been injured internally-stitches had to be taken. I was young and a student at a private university that brought revenue to the city. He had a record and had done time (2009, p.339).

Once the prosecution took place, apparently Alice's energy lost focused. She attempted to act like normal college students but the fact was simple; she was different. Even her friends exhibited by her attitude that Alice was a disease that she caught (2009, p. 461). Alice's preference also changed with reference to this event. Once she was done with the prosecution, apparently her reorganization took a downturn. Her only concern was her safety as she said "No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved. (Sebold, 2009, p.119; p.496)."

Quitting the job that required her to work later, quitting poetry sittings, assuming that she is always being watched, having nightmares and heavy alcoholism, attempt of being oblivion by using drugs, overeating resulting weight gain, not responding to the boyfriend as he requires are some of the examples (2009, p.471). it's not that she became a socially isolated depressed person. She worked as a teacher and found it easy to relate to her students but the after-shocks remained there and…

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